The concept of value is essential in business reporting, but very hard to comprehend. At a base level, why is one thing more valuable than another? Every person, government and culture establishes their own measures of value.
Sometimes, the cost of an item becomes removed from an item’s true intrinsic value. This happens most drastically in collector’s markets. Look back to the Beanie Baby Bubble of the late 90’s. Individual stuffed creatures were routinely selling for thousands of dollars each, and some have retained their value since then.
Collectors are willing to spend lots of money on things that they perceive as valuable. There are markets for collectors items of all varieties. Rare books, historical items, movie props, paintings and Barbie dolls all have markets for enthusiasts to buy and sell.
Here are a few collectible items that certainly have a collector’s market on your beat:
Stamp collecting is a very old hobby, but the tiny pieces of paper can garnish big prices on a collector’s market. As with all the items in this article, some stamps go for just a few dollars, and some go for thousands depending on their condition and rarity.
The American Philatelic Society was founded in 1886 in New York City. Their site says they are, “the largest, non-profit organization for stamp collectors in the world.” They facilitate the sales and trading of stamps between Society members. They also offer a guide to help care for rare stamps and maintain their value.
Stamp collecting has stood up despite declining curriculation of paper mail. In brick and mortar collectors stores, stamps are often sold alongside coins. Stamp collecting is a thriving, international trade with thousands of collectors worldwide.
Watches, like other forms of jewelry, are easy to understand as valuable and collectible. Companies like Rolex, Bulgari and Patek Philippe all sell watches that cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Many people could be considered watch collectors, from a wealthy person with scores of watches to a smaller budget hobbyist. Watches retain value because they are so difficult to create, and often created in small quantities.
Determining a watch’s value is complex, and several companies work to both verify value and facilitate sales between collectors. Chrono24 of Germany, the Watchbox of Pennsylvania and Crown & Caliber out of Georgia all operate as middlemen between watch collectors across the world.
The Internet has enabled watch enthusiasts to connect from across the world. These days, a person can become a watch collector completely online without ever entering a jewelry stores and in-person boutiques.
The New York Times piece on starting a watch collection
Crown & Caliber – Watch 101 Series
Funko is a company that makes pop culture items like tee shirts, key chains, plush dolls, and most notably, their Pop! Vinyl Dolls. Here is an example of one of the figures:
This particular item is supposed to be late-night talk show host, Conan O’Brien, dressed up as a Jedi from the Star Wars film series. This is very specific and niche reference, and they have thousands of different figures like this available on their website.
Funko creates figurines for fictional characters from video games, books and movies, as well as figures of real life people. There are over 8,000 different figures, some selling for thousands of dollars each on collector websites. These figurines are available in stores across America and for delivery off the Internet.
Since these items have come collectible, there are websites dedicated to tracking their value. Funko is a publicly traded company and some analysts are predicting their share price to rise since popular culture is always, well, popular.
Other Collector Item Ideas:
Vinyl records, old video games, toys, VHS tapes, military patches, Boy Scout Badges or Pokemon Cards. Just watch an episode of American Pickers to see how junk in the attic might be worth thousands of dollars. Almost anything can be seen as a collectible to the right audience.